Several local community advocate groups talked about their concerns regarding the recent excavation of three cultural sites as part of the construction for the new Marine Corps Base.
As part of the construction of the future Marine Corps base in Finegayan, the military has excavated three cultural sites that were eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
According to a memo by NAVFAC Pacific, the project proposes to lay down telecom cabling, install communication lines, and create parking for the base.
Prutehi Litekyan, along with several other community advocacy groups, expressed their concerns during an online news conference about the military’s treatment of the three cultural sites.
The memo states that mitigation efforts for the project included data recovery — a practice that many of the groups called harmful, which involves excavation to gather information about historic sites.
Victoria-Lola Leon Guerrero from Independent Guahan says it is important for members of the local community to be able to analyze cultural findings.
“The only way we can discover the way our ancestors lived during these times is if we see these artifacts in place and if we visit these sites and learn from them ourselves. Because our context matters. Our experiences as Chamoru people in the discovery of these sites and the learning from these sites matter. We can no longer do that if these sites have been destroyed and if these artifacts have been removed,” Leon Guerrero said.
These three sites included ceramics from the Latte Period, earth ovens, and human bone fragments.
Maria Hernandez from Prutehi Litekyan says that the local community should have more oversight over buildup activities.
“We would like status reports on oversight of the buildup. And that includes site visits and mitigation efforts and we need as a community and as a local government, we need more local oversight of our main water source. We need to take a step back, pause, and we need to assess the impacts of the construction on our island,” Hernandez said.
The advocacy groups plan to set up a meeting with the Guam State Historic Preservation Officer to discuss the cultural impacts from this project.
In addition, Prutehi Litekyan will have a peaceful protest regarding the site excavations this Friday, July 3, outside the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station at 3 p.m.